- For the character of the same name, see Aisling Querelle.
Philo wakes the following morning to find the knife that Vignette had held to his throat and left behind. He heads downstairs, where he apologizes to Portia for his secrecy. She realizes that he’s hiding pain from a past relationship from her, but that’s all he offers.
Just outside, Philo is approached by Constable Berwick, who informs him of another murder. A dead Pix found this morning on the South Bank, just off the road. Philo deduces that the attack couldn’t have happened more than a few hours ago, after Unseelie Jack threw himself off a building. The victim is identified as Aisling Querelle. She was a famous singer back in the day. Philo orders an autopsy and a last known address.
Philo and Berwick enter Aisling’s apartment to find a Kobold and Runyan Millworthy hiding in her closet. They suspect that he’s the killer, but Runyan denies any wrongdoing. He claims that Aisling was his friend from years ago. He only just arrived in the Burgue that morning. He needed somewhere to shelter, but when Aisling didn’t answer, he invited himself in. He hid in the closet when he heard Philo and Berwick coming. Runyan has not the slightest idea who would want Aisling dead. While they were both performers, she far surpassed him in talent. He turns on Aisling’s vintage gramophone and plays for them her singing "Grieve No More". She sang this during her height of fame. Runyan knew her before her rise to fame, when she used to sing in a little cafe on the Row. Soon, the rich and powerful lined up around the block to hear her. She even gave a recital at Finistere Crossing. Once, even a command performance at Balefire Hall. Aisling’s life was her art. Never married and never had children. Which is why it hit her so hard when she fell out of favor. After that, she became a recluse. Runyan last saw her years ago; some time in the aughts.
Afissa is aware that Vignette crept out the house last night and questions of this is something she’ll have to share with Ezra and Imogen. Vignette pleads with her to keep this to herself. Vignette reveals that she found out that someone she knew from Tirnanoc was in the Burgue and that she went to go see him.
Ezra and Imogen requested Wigsby over to inform him of the Puck that moved in next door in the Cheswith House. Unfortunately, there are no laws explicitly banning the sale of property to fae folk. According to rumors, Cheswith was in debt when he died. Wigsby suspects that his heirs decided to sale to the highest bidder.
Quill knocks on Tourmaline’s door in search of Jonah. Tourmaline is awakened by the knocking and informs Quill that Jonah is gone. With his pants laying on the floor, Fleury concludes that he was taken.
Jonah sits in an unknown location with a bag over his head and ropes tying his hands and feet together.
Nigel informs Absalom and Piety of Jonah’s abduction from Tetterby Hotel. They have no choice but to wait for a ransom demand. The fewer that know, the better. Absalom is certain they’ll see Jonah unharmed and in their care so long as they pay the ransom. Absalom then approaches Jonah’s driver, Quill, who claims that he went across the street to get out the rain, so he doesn’t know who took Jonah. Absalom is enraged and demands that Quill leave his presence.
Runyan hosts a street theater performance acted by his Kobolds in the park. He attracts the attention of a single passerby, though he doesn’t pay much. Vignette and Imogen take notice from afar. Imogen got one from her grandmother when she was a girl. As it starts to rain, Imogen sends Vignette back to get her parasol. Unfortunately for her, the rain comes down fast and hard, with Agreus being the only person kind enough to offer to share his umbrella. He is quite aware of the reaction his arrival to the neighborhood has provoked. Imogen suggests that he consider moving, however, Agreus has no intentions of doing anything of the sorts. He then tells Imogen about herself. He can smell the perfume on her that she uses to attract men. He claims that it also contains piss from a Trow bitch in heat. He knows what it does, but he doesn’t think Imogen should’ve bothered. With that, despite the rain, Imogen takes off.
At the Constabulary, Berwick tells Cuppins and Dombey a story of him helping a man he believed to be a Burguish man, only for him to learn that he was really helping a half-blood. Philo confronts Magistrate Flute after his autopsy request on Aisling Querelle was denied. Flute explains that he’s not going to waste the coroner’s time on a dead Pix. Flute wants Berwick to take over the case, but Philo is determined to find out who wanted Aisling dead.
With Flute refusing to accept Philo’s request for an autopsy, he instead goes to the Row and asks a friend of his, a Puck butcher to do the autopsy. He was a doctor in Puyan before the war. The Puck butcher sewed Aisling back up and put everything back where it belonged inside of her. Judging by the veining on her wings, he concludes that she was approximately 90 years old. There’s some distention in the vaginal area, suggesting at least one pregnancy. There’s also atrophy in her coracoideus. Wing muscle. She is notably missing her liver. What the doctor can’t determine is what was used to kill Aisling.
That night, Philo visits an old friend of his, Darius Prowell, at Bleakness Keep prison. After exchanging goods with Darius, Philo reveals to him the difference between the latest killing and those prior. Philo remarks that Aisling had a remarkable voice and that he couldn’t get her song out his head. Together, they start to sing an old war song. Darius tells Philo that he doesn’t have to come see him everyday, but the reason he does is because it could’ve just as easily been Philo locked up behind the bars.
Ezra watches Vignette as she washes dishes. She's contracted to work there until next Austery. Only then would her debt be paid. Ezra offers her a quicker way to pay off her debt, in reference to sex. She refuses, pushing Ezra off her and warning him to stop. When he tries to force himself on her, she takes him down and escapes out the door. Imogen and Afissa come downstairs after hearing the commotion. Ezra lies and tells them that he caught Vignette stealing. Believing her brother, Imogen insists that they report Vignette to the constabulary first thing in morning.
Vignette stays with Tourmaline at the Tetterby. Vignette reveals to her that she tracked Philo down. While she wanted to hurt him, she decided against it. She wants a fresh start, starting with new employment. Vignette is hoping Tourmaline could talk to her boss about getting her a job, however, Tourmaline thinks better of Vignette, even though she herself is a poet laureate. With few choices, Tourmaline offers to introduce Vignette to an organization known as the Black Raven. A group comprised mainly of fae ex-blockade runners from the Wing Brigade. Proud faerish-homeland types just fighting to get by any way they can, running lots, gaming, contraband, potshine, lixer. It’ll put Vignette squarely on the other side of the law more often than not. They’re meeting tonight and Tourmaline will arrange an introduction.
Absalom and Piety have yet to receive a ransom demand for the safe return of Jonah. Piety suggests seeking help from the Haruspex. She had advised Piety’s family for generations. However, Absalom is very much against it, denouncing Haruspexy as nothing more than superstition. Piety reminds Absalom that it was the Haruspex who brought them together. Her father would’ve never agreed to her marrying a Burguish man had she not foreseen that he was destined for great things, and Jonah even greater. Critch magic is a sin against the Martyr, Absalom states. Nevertheless, it works, and so he reluctantly agrees. A sacrifice is required. The dearer to the House Breakspear, the better, and so Absalom is forced to sacrifice his pet bear. The Haruspex cuts it open and uses it for her spell. She claims the man that took their son is known to them. It is he who would drive Absalom from his seat of power. They gather that Ritter Longerbane is Jonah’s abductor.
As planned, Vignette meets with the Black Ravens. She comes in as their leader Dahlia is interrogating Wren, a fellow member who was taken into custody. Dahlia and Bolero strap her wings down with a corset to keep her from flying away and begin questioning her. They had her coated and cuffed. So Dahlia wonders how she managed to give them the slip. Before proceeding, Hamlyn introduces Vignette to Dahlia, who knows all about Vignette’s past; getting their countrymen out of Anoun. Dahlia remarks that much like Vignette, being a lady’s maid wasn’t for her. In fact, it’s one of her old wing corsets that she has tied tight around the supposed informant. Dahlia claims that they’re forced to wear these corsets because the "leggers" are envious. They can’t fly and so they wish to cripple those who can.
Back on Wren, Dahlia asks again what happened when she was taken in. When Wren refuses to answer, Dahlia flips her over the balcony, sending her plummeting to her doom. Dahlia explains that the police have been looking for a foothold into her organization. So, when one of hers spends a night in police custody and she won’t say anything about it, Dahlia has no choice but to get rid of her. The way she sees it is a faerishyn who picks the groundlings over them belongs to the ground. Vignette assures them that she’ll only work for her own kind, however, she’ll have to prove herself. Dahlia orders her to take the flag hanging in the rotunda of the constabulary and bring it back to her.
Philo arrives at the constabulary to find Imogen and Ezra filing a report on Vignette for breaking her contract. Philo takes it upon himself to clear Vignette of her contract by paying the 50 guilders to settle the debt and free Vignette. Ezra agrees, however, Philo doesn’t know Vignette to be a thief and quickly deduces the true reason behind why she ran away.
Once Philo is gone, Ezra reveals to Imogen that they’re in financial trouble despite the fact that their father left them with 10,000 a year. Ezra explains just how much it takes to sustain a household, down to Imogen’s fancy wardrobe. He tried to take the resources their father left them and use it to grow their income, but it backfired. Ezra aims to procure a loan to fund the refurbishment of another ship. He insists that there’s still money to be made in this business, but Imogen begs to differ, and she refuses to allow him to offer the house as collateral to the bank. Not that Ezra takes what she has to say into consideration.
As it turns out, Jonah was not taken by Ritter Longerbane, but rather his own mother. Her heels click against the stone floor as she circles her son. Jonah, still unaware that his mother is his own abductor, threatens to have everyone killed. Piety thanks the Haruspex for convincing her husband that it was Longerbane who took Jonah. While the Haruspex has served Piety’s family for many years, never before have they asked her to lie.
Imogen watches Agreus from her window. She suspects that he’s desperate for attention and intends to prey on that desperation to get money from him. So, Imogen writes an apology letter and sends it over with Afissa. Agreus tells Afissa to tell Imogen that he would be pleased to take tea with her tomorrow.
Mima Sawsaan of the Revanscleer order has come to see Aisling’s body. After what happened, Aisling would never rest if Mima didn’t anoint her. Philo allows Mima Sawsaan to begin the process, though he watches from the corner. Aisling would lite a candle at Mima’s shrine every week. For who, she couldn’t say. When Philo asks if she knows of anyone who would want to harm Aisling, Mima reveals that a pall hangs over her, and she was taken by a great evil. She was killed by something unnatural. Neither man nor fae. Philo shares with Mima how just the other night, Unseelie Jack told him about a "dark god" lurking beneath the city. Philo didn’t believe him.
Vignette enlists in Tourmaline’s help to steal the flag from the center of the constabulary. Tourmaline provides a distraction, claiming she was robbed, though Cuppins doesn't seem to care. She proceeds to attacks him with her purse to gain everyone’s attention while Vignette flies up and grabs the flag. She’s spotted, forcing Vignette to flee upstairs with the flag in search of an escape. Vignette makes her way through the constabulary as they shoot at her. Philo calls out to her as she makes her getaway. When he grabs the flag, she threatens to reveal his secret. He releases it in fear that she'll follow through. Vignette takes the flag and flies out the window.